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Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

Tel Aviv, Israel
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Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

We're a group of four adults arriving in St. Thomas in January on the Ruby Princess. We signed up for an official Princess shore excursion that collects us in St Thomas with a ferry transfer to St John and snorkeling at Trunk Bay. I've heard that the huge crowds could make this a less than ideal experience. Are there private tour operators who offer a similar excursion to another of the less crowded St John beaches? I know that we can do this independently, but, franklly, I'd rather leave the logistics up to someone else this time. Any suggestions?

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St. Thomas
St. Thomas
U.S. Virgin Islands
BoatDay V.I.
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Salty Dog Day Sails
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6 Paq Scuba
Equipment Hire, Boat Hire, Scuba & Snorkeling, Private Tours, Other Outdoor Activities
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54b
Dallas, TX
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1. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

A couple of ideas...

1) http://www.lovangocharters.com/

Read about these guys on another post...basically a guided tour that circumnavigates STJ and hits the big snorkel spots. If you're more into snorkeling than beach time, I'd say this is your way to go. Only obstacle would simply be getting from your cruise ship port on STT over to STJ, but that's not hard to do with a taxi ride to either of the ferry embarkation docks (Charlotte Amelie - which is probably close to your cruise ship dock) or Red Hook.

2) Even though you said you didn't want to do this independently...I'd still encourage you to consider it. If I was doing it, I'd first call Rachel. I don't know her number but you can find it on several posts on this forum. She's a private taxi driver on STT. You could arrange for her to pick you up at the cruise ship port and take you to either ferry dock to ride over to STJ (and she'd pick you up at the end of the day to you wouldn't have to worry about making it back on time.)

Once on STJ, you could take taxis to most of the north shore beaches and avoid the glut at Trunk. I think you can even arrange for a private taxi just to take you around all day on STJ. That way you could go to Leinster and snorkel Waterlemon Cay, but also hit Francis or Cinnamon or Maho on your way back to the Cruz Bay to catch the ferry back to STT. And again, you could arrange for Rachel to get you back to the Cruise ship. A little more expensive than a regular cab, but it's a sure thing.

Good luck.

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Cruz Bay
Cruz Bay
St. John
Salt Lake City, Utah
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2. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, Doesn't princess have their own Ferry called "Island Girl" that they use for the STJ excursions, It takes you right to the Cruz bay/NPS dock. Not sure what time it drops you and not sure if it's possible to use that to get to STJ, then make a break from there. Something to consider. BUT If you can get off your ship and have a taxi get you on an earlier Red Hook Ferry to STJ, that might be the best way to optimize your time.

NY metro
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3. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

Jeez, I hope not.

Growing that type of business. Tour operators ferrying cruise shippers to various No. Shore Beaches?

Think about it. Five cruise ships in port. All kinds of people crawling and snorkeling all over all the beaches on day trip excursions instead of being relatively confined to Trunk Bay.

The fear is that those "huge crowds" may become an inevitable part of the No Shore beaches. Yikes!

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

I'd second 54b's comments, the logistics may seem daunting for a first timer, but instead of fattening Princess's pockets, spend that money on a private taxi from the cruise dock to Red Hook, then take the ferry over to STJ. From there things are easy, as you can take any number of taxis to different beaches. If it is your first time, Cinnamon Bay is a good alternative to Trunk, as it still has facilities (bathroom, food) and should be slightly less crowded than Trunk. If that isn't a concern, then you can go to Hawksnest, or possibly even Maho (not sure if the taxis will take you that far). Depends on what time your ship departs St Thomas, but there are several other beaches if you're willing to take a short hike that would be considerably less crowded. If snorkeling is important, consider Hawksnest as an alternative to Trunk. Waterlemon has some of the best Northshore snorkeling, but it is a pretty good drive / hike for a day trip. If you don't have your own snorkeling equipment you could rent fairly easily near the Cruz Bay dock. This may sound like a lot, but it's really quite simple with a little planning and research You'll save a lot of money.

On a couple of occasions I've seen St Thomas based catamarans that take cruise ship passengers on a day sail that includes a snorkel stop at Honeymoon Beach with some decent snorkeling. They also had a dinghy to the beach for those who don't want to snorkel. I can't recall the name of the vessel though.

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St. Thomas
St. Thomas
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Cruz Bay
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St. John
NY metro
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5. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

Others and myself have suggested essentially that in a response to a previous post from this same poster. My comments stem from the original posters seeming insistence that he not do this independently.

That is what drives my caveat. The prospect of independent tour operators aggressively marketing this type of thing to cruisers. Certainly good for St. John business, but alternatively and in the long run, maybe not so good for St John the park and the island.

YMMV. As I said. Think about it.

North Carolina USA
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6. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

Well if you really want to be independent, I’d say take the ferry from Red hook or Charlotte A. Red Hook to Cruz Bay is only $6 per person for a one way Ferry trip. Leaves on the hour every hour. Then when you get to Cruz bay Taxis are every where at the ferry dock. Take a taxi to Cinnamon Bay and Not Trunk Bay. If I had to vote for best snorkel/beach combination it would be Cinnamon Bay in St John. The beach in my opinion is just as pretty as the infamous Trunk Bay. There are facilities there and the snorkeling around the Cay was excellent when we were there in September. We saw several tarpons and big schools of blue tang. The water visibility was excellent on the day we were there. Plus there is no entry fee. If you are not happy there you can easily catch a taxi to Trunk bay as they are next to each other along the North Shore drive.

Don’t think that the cruise ship excursions are the safest bet. Our first cruise, we stopped in St Thomas and did a Royal Caribbean excursion to St John and Trunk bay. Well the bus left us at St John and we left the ship with No money, no credit card, no wallets etc. We had to beg a taxi driver to take us to the ferry dock where the boat we took was leaving and were fortune that they were still loading, they left us and really we were on time returning to the parking lot where the buses where. They left early. No one noticed that they were missing 2 passengers, I complained to RC to no avail. Now, I never do cruise ship excursions as you can always do the same excursion for much less, even get on the same boat as cruise ship passenger and pay much less.

Ferry Schedule: www.bestofbvi.com/info/usviferry_stt_stj.htm

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Cruz Bay
Cruz Bay
St. John
St. Thomas
St. Thomas
U.S. Virgin Islands
St Thomas
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7. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

This ferry schedule is better than the one linked above:

www.vinow.com/general_usvi/interisland_ferry/

8. Re: Alternative to cruiseline excursion: St Thomas to St John

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